January 31, 2007 19:00
A prevalent fixture in West Texas, a scorpion is usually avoided. On the Denny’s PBA Tour, however, Tim Criss makes no effort to avoid the creature.
Bowling on the Scorpion oil pattern in the Sun City Classic at Oasis Lanes, Criss led Thursday’s Round of 64 with a 3,321 14-game pinfall including a 300 in the final game of the night to maintain his lead.
It’s not the first time this season Criss has excelled on the pattern, one of five oil patterns the PBA uses in standard events. In the 2007 Earl Anthony Medford Classic three weeks ago, Criss and his slow ball speed led the field in the Round of 64, finishing with a 3,422 14-game pinfall, before being upset by eventual runner-up and No. 32 seed Brian Himmler in the Round of 32.
“I am pretty much attacking the lanes the same exact way as Medford,” said Criss (Bel Air, Md.). “I liked my strategy last time Brian just bowled a great match. When it takes 250 to beat your opponent it’s going to be tough, but someone has to lose. My ball roll likes this pattern so I’m not going to try anything different. I’m just going to hope it works this week.”
Criss will face No. 32 Del Ballard Jr. (N. Richland Hills, Texas), who fired a 265 in his final game to earn the final spot in match play, two pins ahead of Marv Sargent (Temecula, Calif.).
Finishing second was 2004-05 PBA Player of Year Patrick Allen (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) with 3,303. Allen, who has one title to his credit this season, will face No. 31 Mike Wolfe (New Albany, Ind.).
Jason Couch (Clermont, Fla.), who will look to become just the fourth bowler in Tour history to win three consecutive events, finished tied for 19th with Brian Voss. By virtue of having the higher second block, Voss (Alpharetta, Ga.) earned the No. 19 seed and will face No. 14 Riga Kalfas (Florence, Ky.). No. 20 Couch will face No. 13 Steve Jaros (Yorkville, Ill.).
Friday’s Round of 32 gets underway at 9 a.m. MST followed by the Round of 16 at 2 p.m. and the Round of 8 at 7 p.m.
The final four advance to Sunday’s live ESPN televised finals at Noon MST. The winner will take home $25,000 and an exemption for the 2007-08 Denny’s PBA Tour season.
300 Games (5) - Chad Kloss, Chris Collins, Ronnie Russell, Doug Kent, Tim Criss.
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